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Germany Extends support to Israel in ICJ genocide case

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Germany said on Friday that it is planning to intervene in the genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. Denying the accusations of genocide made by South Africa against Israel, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in a statement said, “This accusation has no basis whatsoever,”. 

Taking to social media, Hebestreit said that Germany is particularly committed to the UN Genocide Convention, given Germany’s history, referring to the Holocaust of World War II, which carried out the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

“German government firmly and explicitly rejects the accusation of genocide that has now been made against Israel before the International Court of Justice. This accusation has no basis whatsoever,” spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement on Friday.

“In view of Germany’s history, crimes against humanity and Shoah (catastrophe in English), the government is particularly committed to the U.N. Genocide Convention,” Hebestreit said.

“The German government supports the International Court of Justice in its work, as it has done for many decades. The government intends to intervene as a third party in the main hearing,” he added.

On Friday, the legal team of Israel defended itself before the UN’s top court, denying the accusations of opponent South Africa, regarding the genocidal acts carried out by its military forces in Gaza. This was in response to the first hearing from the presentations of the South African representatives speaking for Gaza, in front of the fifteen-judge panel. 

South Africa had earlier accused Israel of carrying out genocide in Gaza, including statements of Israel’s official leaders that show “incitement to genocide”. It had demanded that the top court issue an order to compel Israel to suspend military operations in Gaza. 

Delivering its defence, Israel said that South Africa has distorted the truth. Before closing the second day of the hearing, ICJ president Joan Donoghue announced that the court will deliver its decision in the upcoming days and will start examining the case altogether. 

This legal fight at the World Court not only addresses the ongoing war but also looks into Israel’s national identity as a Jewish state established after the Holocaust while drawing parallel to South Africa’s history under apartheid. 

However, it is to be noted that the ruling of the ICJ can give rulings to stop Israeli military operations in Gaza, but does not have the power to enforce it on Israel. The ICJ had ordered Russia to “immediately suspend military operations” in Ukraine in 2022, but the order was ignored by Russia. Similarly, Israel too can choose not to abide by the rulings of ICJ. 

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